December 5, 2018
With approximately 11,000 merchant locations accepting Mastercard on the island, the leading technology company in the global payments industry said the decision to use Jamaica as the first Caribbean island to launch its ‘I Accept’ campaign was an excellent idea.
For the first time in Mastercard’s history for the region (Caribbean and Latin America), the new campaign, which started advertising locally and on social media in April this year, had all the content for the commercial shot on the island using local talent.
“This was a chance for us to present the brand to the Jamaican people with Jamaican flavour. It was a lot of learning to develop more intimacy with a lot of customers,” said vice-president of marketing and communications for the Caribbean, Luis Araujo.
In an interview with The Gleaner on Wednesday during Mastercard’s media day in Miami, Florida, Araujo said its ‘I Accept’ campaign is aimed at increasing its presence locally by using a holistic approach. The goal is to extend its reach and be accepted in more places.
“We are seeing an increase in terms of real acceptance as it relates to location growth, which is the primary driver of this. We are measuring impact in terms of brand acceptance perception, so those results are going to come by the end of this year once we close the cycle of the campaign. The idea is to continue repeating these type of activations in 2019, increasing our relevancy and bringing more local content to the market,” said Araujo.
In three years, Mastercard is hoping to double the number of merchants using its service, targeting small and medium-size businesses that do not accept any electronic means of payment in Jamaica. Based on the feedback from the ‘I Accept’ campaign, it will be replicated across the Caribbean.
… Reggae Sumfest went cashless
Another first for Jamaica and Mastercard also occurred this year. The company sponsored its first music festival in the form of Reggae Sumfest and, for the first time in the festival’s 26-year history, assisted it to go cashless.
“That was terrific. You know, you start with a traditional approach and say, ‘Let’s sponsor this event’. Music is super relevant across the Caribbean and, in particular, in Jamaica. You know, reggae is just [a] synonym for Jamaica,” said Mastercard’s vice-president of marketing and communications for the Caribbean, Luis Araujo.
“So, what we identified there was not only an opportunity to connect with a passion point of the Jamaica people, to drive more local relevancy, but also to kind of create controlled ecosystems. It was a chance for us to showcase our technologies, such as contactless payments, the convenience of not carrying cash into this type of event, and that also represents an opportunity for us to educate our cardholders and our partners.”
Mastercard said it is interested in developing more local partnerships and is ready to go above and beyond traditional sponsorship.
“We want to partner more in the gastronomy area with relevant partners in the travel area, in shopping as well, those things that can help us connect more on a day-to-day basis with Jamaicans,” said Araujo.
018’s Sumfest’s Reggae Night on Saturday, July 21, 2018 featured a stellar line up of artistes that did not disappoint the thousands of fans present at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay. Among those who graced the stage were Naomi Cowan, Keznamdi, Hawaiian reggae artiste J Boog, Fantan Mojah, Jesse Royal and Maxi Priest who graced the stage and brought the audience down memory lane, delivering a full set of his repertoire.
Fresh off his European tour and celebrating his earthstrong, Jr. Gong delivered a solid performance doing several songs of his Stony Hill album before closing with his anthem Welcome to Jamrock. To the delight of the audience, he was joined on stage by his son Elijah who dedicated his version of Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called to Say I Love you to his dad for his birthday. Beres Hammond, who received his Lifetime Award two nights prior was his usual exceptional self-delivering hit at after hit. During his set that lasted over an hour and a half, the crowd could be heard screaming and singing along to the ever popular songs including Full Attention, Double Trouble and Can You Play Some More. He invited Beenie Man to join him on stage for a cameo appearance during which he the Doctor made up some impromptu lyrics with his usual catchy phrases.
One of the best dancers in the industry; Cham with his all-female band and his lovely dancers gave the audience all the hits he is known for. The show which ended in the wee hours of the morning was closed by the fireman Capleton. Die-hard fans who remained to the end were treated to his lively and energetic performance.
Reproduction without permission of United Reggae and is prohibited.
By Steve James for United Reggae — August 6th, 2018
Some of the biggest dancehall entertainers in the business turned out for this year’s staging of Reggae Sumfest 2018 Dancehall Night which was held at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay on July 20, 2018. The show started promptly at 7pm. The audience were treated to performances by new Ghanaian sensation Stonebwoy. On the heels of his upcoming album Hope River and though he came on early in the lineup, Sasco delivered a commanding performance. Bounty Killer delivered his usual high energy performance with his stinging social commentary. The audience went wild and stayed with him throughout his set. Spice who was fully decked in her Wakanda inspired outfit also delivered a very entertaining perfromance. Great performances were also done by Sizzla, I Octane, Ding Dong and Ravers Clavers. Aidonia and Masicka were among the other acts that performed.
There was no question that each artiste who performed came to deliver in their best, and that they did. Popcaan who performed in the early hours of Saturday morning was joined on stage by Dre Island to sing their hit single, We Pray. Dancehall night was fittingly closed with a ‘Mobay Tribute’ which included Rygin King, Teejay & Tommy Lee Sparta.
Dressed in a red suit jacket and matching vest with a long gold chain around his neck, Popcaan launched into a few lines from “Gangster City.” The track was recorded back in 2010 when Popcaan was a member of Vybz Kartel’s Portmore Empire and the dress code was tank tops, fitted caps, and bandanas. That same year, his catchy cameo on Kartel’s single “Clarks” helped elevate Popcaan’s profile around the world. Eight years later he’s a top attraction at Jamaica’s biggest music festival, but it’s clear that the Unruly Boss, as he’s now known, will never forget the struggle of his early days. “I’m from a place where dog eat dog,” he sang on the track. “Mi know ’bout living hard.”
The song’s title is a nickname for Three West, the government-subsidized housing scheme in the Jamaican city of Portmore where young Andrae Hugh Sutherland was raised from the age of seven. Popcaan has come a long way since then, a journey recounted on his acclaimed debut album Where We Come From, released on Mixpak Records in 2014. “I’m representing my whole community, people who have been through it with me,” he said of the project back then. “It’s not really my story alone.”
Popcaan’s debut featured a collaboration with Pusha T, and since then the youth from Gangster City has become an in-demand international recording artist, sampled by Kanye West and collaborating on hits with Drake, Jamie XX and Young Thug, Giggs, Gorillaz and Stefflon Don, to name a few. The buzz surrounding his name has built anticipation for his sophomore album, Forever, to a fever pitch.
The night before Popcaan hit the Sumfest stage, he premiered his new album in the streets of Kingston. The free Thursday evening listening session took place in the parking lot of Triple Century Sports Bar and was streamed around the world via Boiler Room TV. “Big dreams weh we have, thank God we still livin’ it,” he sang before his DJ Creep Chromatic pressed play on the album. “Me did broke like dog. Now I am winning it…”
During both the Kingston listening event and his Sumfest set, Popcaan made a point of bigging up Vybz Kartel, who is currently appealing his conviction on murder charges. “All who say Kartel fe free say Free!” Popcaan instructed the crowd. Even after seven years behind bars, Kartel remains a popular figure in Jamaica’s dancehall scene. During his absence Popcaan has elevated from protege to pop star, racking up over a million followers on Instagram, where he can be seen rocking stages around the world or racing his collection of motorcycles through the streets of Jamaica. The inevitable jealousy from his peers in Jamaica is one of the recurring themes of Forever. “This music biz is like a battle to me,” he sings on “Firm & Strong,” one of the early singles from the album. “So much f**king hatred and grudge.”
“I’m sharing my experience with the fans,” Popcaan told us from backstage after the show. “Certain songs on Forever is very personal, like ‘Silence’ and ‘Happy Now.’ And it is coming straight from things weh happen to me in my life. This album is just a continuation of Where We Come From to make them know say Popcaan is here Forever.”
Even as he declares his longevity in the game, Popcaan admits that his success has come at a serious price. “Watch who you tell when you a buy new Bimma, careful who you confide inna,” he sings on the album-opening cut “Silence,” which explores the downside of leveling up. “Ah nuh anybody pour my drink, an nuh anybody buy my dinner / So hard fi trust your enemy, hard fi trust your friend / Me nah lie, mi love me family but mi nuh trust the whole a dem.” As if to drive home this chilling confession, Popcaan follows the line up with, “Might sound f**k up but ah so me feel.” Once a carefree artist known as the Raving King, Popcaan has always used his music to speak truth. The Forever album is no exception.
Popcaan touched on related issues throughout his Sumfest set, from the dreamy “Weed Is my Best Friend” to the harder-edged “Never Fear Them.” Between songs, he addressed a few words to his rivals in the ultra-competitive dancehall industry. “Some artists try to test me and get me mad,” he stated. “But we on a mission to take the music further.” He punctuated these remarks with his latest signature catchphrase, “Dem Dead.”
Along with his gift for crafting infectious melodies, Popcaan is famous for coining popular slang expressions like “TR8” “Wha!” “Killy Killy” and “Kick Out… Far Out!” He now drops “Dem Dead”—sometimes used as a question, sometimes as an exclamation—throughout his live shows, conversation and as a social media hashtag.
“It’s the influence,” he explained backstage. “People enjoy the things them weh me say… Like sometime people say them a foolishness. But as time goes by, even who say that a foolishness join in. Because is something weh them never hear yet. Is something weh make them feel happy when them hear it.” Popcaan considers his gift of gab to be a blessing. “There’s are a lot of artists and not every artist have the same meds or the same power,” he says. “I’m very grateful for being who I am.”
As the sun began to rise over Montego Bay, a city that’s been under a state of emergency since last January when a joint military and police task force was deployed to quell a wave of violence in the island’s leading tourist center, Popcaan delivered two of his more inspirational numbers. First, he called Dre Island onstage to perform “We Pray” and then he delivered his biggest recent hit, a song called “Family.” His lyrics on the track harkened back to his journey to stardom: “Although man make it now, me know how struggle feel, and me know all the p***y them, and me know who f**kin’ real.” As flames shot into the dawn sky, Popcaan delivered the lines with evident passion.
On the new album cut “Deserve It All,” Popcaan reflects on the hard work he put in to reach this level. “Nuh bother ask why mi happy so,” he says. “Without food whole heap a daysmi did haffi go / Some bwoy can’t walk the road them weh Poppy go… Tears of joy me did cry yunno / First time mi bring mommy go a Poppy show.”
“Family is always first to Popcaan,” he explained after the show as his parents and grandparents looked on along with his brothers and sister, as well as childhood friends from Portmore like Grizzle Bear, who’s been shouted out on numerous records. “I don’t care, as long as my family is good.”
In his final words, Popcaan sent a message to his fans in the U.S., a territory he has yet to visit due to visa issues. “Tell them me soon forward,” he said. “Popcaan soon check in America. Big up all Popcaan fans in worldwide. Love and respect forever.”
Among those who were awarded was singer songwriter Bob Andy whose songs have been covered by over sixty different artistes. Copeland Forbes was recognized as the longest serving manager in the music industry and one who has influenced the careers of artiste such as Dennis Brown, Black Uhuru and Peter Tosh during his forty years in the business.
Chronixx was befittingly named Reggae Sumfest’s Rising Star, which is an award bestowed to an artiste under 30 years old who “shows dedication and motivation who has performed at Reggae Sumfest at least once“.
The Golden Pen Award was presented to journalist Pat Meschino of Billboard magazine who has consistently advocated for reggae music for more than 22 years and has written some of the most memorable articles on Jamaican music.
In addition three Jamaican media practitioners, Marlon Tingling, Alan Lewin and Winford Williams, were given special awards for their support of the music festival since its inception.
Rhythm twins Sly & Robbie who were unavoidable absent were awarded as two outstanding talent to emerge out of Jamaica during the past forty years.
The Doctor, Beenie Man was awarded as Sumfest legend and Hermine Shaw was also for “putting the food in the festival” for the past twenty five years.
Check these photos of the event.